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Online Reviews Marketing Research

Autor:   •  April 28, 2016  •  Essay  •  593 Words (3 Pages)  •  466 Views

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George

How important are online reviews? How important is social proof (SP) to market new products? Online social media (SM) platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized business communications and are increasingly influencing customer selections. They are changing the way people research and place confidence in their buying decisions. “The fact is, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations”. (invespcro) With the power of the internet, this new flow of information is bridging the gap between company claims and user experience. Therefore, it is prudent for new and established companies to know the answers to these questions, but in order to do so one must look at the psychology behind online reviews and social proof. “It is especially important to understand the behavior of connected consumers. It is imperative to explore and gain insights of the behavioral factors that influence Internet users when making an on-line decision and purchase.” (UNCP Bus. Source)

“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” (Entrepreneurs) Basically it is the phenomenon where individuals do things they see other people doing because they assume these people are better informed and understand more about the situation. This would include obvious things such as reviews and testimonials, but it can also include things such as videos, blog posts, and brand endorsements. There are 5 primary types of social proof Celebrity, Expert, Crowd, Friends, and Users.  Celebrity SP is where companies use popular individuals who hold great influence as brand ambassadors, to endorse their products. Ambassadors can be seen as trend setters who identify with a customer’s self-perception, and can influence them to buy. Expert SP relies on the opinion of experienced individuals. The customer trusts that the expert knows what they are talking about. An example of this could be a blog or paid ads.  Crowd SP involves the actions of the masses.  This could be company statistics that encourage buying behavior. Customers are influenced with ‘a fear of missing out’ on a trend. SP from friends is perhaps the most powerful because its from a known source. Friends are among the first people turned to within SM in order to ask about a specific brand. Customers are influenced most by the people they perceive to be like themselves. And lastly User SP is the most widely utilized. “Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey [26] found that recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising worldwide” (UNCP Bus. Source) A good example of this would be Yelp and 5-star Amazon reviews. Users can transmit information online and are absolutely free to share their experiences and recommendations.

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